[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets]

[Personal information has been redacted.]


[Adapted from website:] Baha’i World News Service

[Date:] 14 Khordad 1388 (4 June 2009)


Isfahan: The Baha’is of Vilashahr Were Threatened for Using the Cemetery

Latest news from Iran:

We have received the news that three Baha’is in Vilashahr (near Isfahan) were arrested for burying a Baha’i corpse in the city cemetery, and then released on bail pending trial.

Mr. Houshmand Talebi Eskandari, Mr. Mehran Zeini Najafabadi, and Mr. Farhad Ferdowsian had been convicted on 16 Tir 1387 [6 July 2008] of “illegal appropriation and use of government property,” and the court, while imposing a fine on them, had ordered them “to stop occupying that property (cemetery)” and “return it to its former state”, meaning to remove all the dead [bodies] buried there.

Following an appeal, on 26 Bahman 1387 [14 February 2009], the court had acquitted them and upheld the use of the land for burial. However, according to the latest news, on 31 Ordibehesht 1388 [21 May 2009], a large sign was erected next to the existing graves with the following words: “This place has been handed over to the municipality according to letter No. 4080 – dated 2 Bahman 1387 [21 January 2009] – of the Natural Resources Office of Najafabad City and is in the possession of the municipality. Therefore, any entrance, occupation and burial of the dead in this place is strictly forbidden and if observed, violators will be dealt with according to Article 635 of the Islamic Penal Code regarding the unauthorized burial of the dead and will be prosecuted through the judicial authorities.”

In addition, it was reported that the local municipality had received an order from the Ministry of Intelligence to refuse to provide ambulance services to Baha’is for transporting the[ir] dead to the cemetery to bury.